A letter to the membership

From Executive Council Member Jason Dominy:

I wanted to take a minute and tell you where we’re at with the BGA. We’ve experienced a great amount of growth this past year, and now sit at 465 members or so, which is up from less than 200 just a year and a half ago. We accomplished this through several channels, including the membership drive last year where we allowed members to renew for free, the WBC Bar area, the BGA jams we’ve done, and the events we’ve starting doing at regionals that were BGA sponsored including the Fourth Machine and the BGA Members Only Gathering we did here in Atlanta during the SERBC. It’s been really good to see a better BGA presence all over, and we owe you a big thanks for all the work you’ve done individually and collectively. I have to say it’s much appreciated.

We've spent the year developing a Barista Camp tentatively called “Camp Pull-a-shot” is coming up this Fall. Planning has been underway for some time on how to make it the best experience it can be, and as affordable as it can be, while providing the largest amount of value. This is tentatively taking place near San Diego, CA. The goal is for it be a jam, informal sessions, community, and learning workshops geared towards helping baristas get to the next level for them, whatever that is. It’s modeled after a summer camp from when you were a kid. You will be getting more info just after Expo, after we meet for more logistic details.

If you want to get more involved, here's one way. We have BGA EC and Chapter Rep elections coming up. Do you have someone you’d like to nominate (including yourself!), let us know! Also, please send out an e-mail reminding members to vote, and get involved if they are so led.

Now, a little visioneering. The main reason I got involved with the BGA in the beginning was that I saw the potential of an average barista to become engaged in the larger community as a whole in an easier way. Something the little guy, the barista banging it out in a small town outside of say, Alabama, somewhere small like that, something they could join that would not only make them better baristas, but help provide a community element they may be lacking where they live. A way for that guy to stay connected to what’s going on in the barista community at large. A way for him to elevate his own experience level, through the experience of others. A tool he can use, if you will. I envision the Barista Guild to be a grassroots effort to build value, better knowledge, and a better level of pride in what baristas do on a daily basis, the art of it, the beauty in making something taste better than the customer can get anywhere else. The Barista Guild should be a place where people dive in and invest in the better of the whole. Truly not for what they can get themselves, but what they can pass down to someone else. The Barista Guild should be a place where lack of knowledge is not looked down upon, but appreciated as a starting point to so much more.

So, thank you for playing your part in what I see the Barista Guild doing. Taking this message of community, great coffee and espresso, and building better standards so that we can all take pride in what we do, and building the appreciation baristas deserve. Thanks for hosting jams, for leading labs, for encouraging fellow baristas and shop owners and spurning all to be better than they were the day before. On behalf of the BGA EC, we appreciate it. We appreciate your willingness to wave high the flag of the BGA, to see the vision we’ve laid out and carry it forth. For not just the big guys at the big shops everyone knows, but the little guys, the guys in the little shops in the Alabamas and Montanas that you don’t hear about. Just as you look up to amazing baristas like Mike White, Lem Butler, Heather Perry or Scott Lucey, remember there’s a whole heap of baristas who look up to you. Thanks for taking that role seriously, and representing us all well.

Our next big event is at Expo, where we’ll be running the BGA Cafe espresso bar, run by BGA members only. If you’re interested in participating, please register as a volunteer at the SCAA website. Many of us will be teaching SCAA labs, judging at the USBC, slinging espresso in company booths. Please see us. We’ll have a BGA meeting on Sunday morning, and we’d love for you to attend. If you have anything to share, or things to contribute, this is a great place for that. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to give any of the BGA EC members a shout. We’re here for you, we work for the greater good. Thanks again for your service and time!

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